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10 Best Practices to Make Sure You’re Getting the Most Out of Your Social Media

This post is part of our Elected Leader FAQ guidance for newly elected leaders.

A critical component of being an elected leader is communicating regularly and effectively with constituents. Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are efficient and quick ways to get information out and create buzz about what you’re working on and your campaign. These tools also allow you to have more direct contact with your constituents and get feedback on a policy or program. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media, we’ve compiled a list of 10 best practices. 

 

1. Consistency is Key 

Consistency means frequent posting, not doing the same thing over and over again. Your social media followers will expect you to tweet, blog, or post insider content or something interesting at least once a day. If you don’t, then they will go listen to someone else who does. 

 

2. No Ghost Towns

Social media is about the long game. You are building and fostering relationships with your constituents and stakeholders, which will take time. So, if you join a network, then be prepared to be active on it. This is corollary to consistency being key. It’s important that when you’re choosing social media platforms to pick ones that you know you can invest time into daily—whether it be a tweet, a blog, or a video message. You don’t want to overextend yourself or start using a platform only to drop it a few weeks later. Not only is that a waste of time, but it can also come across negatively to your constituents. 

 

3. Each Platform has a Distinct Language. Learn to Speak it. 

A common social media mistake is to share the same message in the same way across all of your social media platforms. However, all of the platforms are different and people go to them for different reasons. Facebook’s most common use is to keep people informed on what’s happening—like a scrapbook where people can archive important moments in their lives. Whereas Twitter focuses on speeding things up, which often makes it a source in and of itself. It’s important to understand the platform’s subtleties and craft your message to fit within that context. 

 

4. Think Visually

A picture is worth a thousand words, and increasingly social media platforms, like Instagram, are taking that saying to heart and are becoming more visual. A video that sums up a committee hearing or an issue you’re working on, is a great way to keep constituents informed on what you’re working on. Furthermore, individuals who are active on social media with video messages and blogs are seeing increased viewership and audience engagement, and sometimes even national attention. Even on Twitter, tweets with images or videos see a noticeable improvement in clicks, retweets, and conversions. 

 

5. Listen to Your Audience 

Social media is like a ticket to an event where you have the opportunity to connect with your community, supporters, constituents, and influencers on a more individualized basis.  Setting up a social media listening strategy can help to keep you informed on what’s already being said about you or your areas of interest, as well as gauge the temperature of your audience, so you can better direct your digital strategy. 

 

6. Control and Personalize Your Message to Connect and Engage Your Digital Community 

Social media platforms offer individuals with the unique ability to convey their message, beliefs, and efforts to a larger and diverse audience. By effectively utilizing video and other mediums to connect on a more personal level, you will be able to have more personal engagement and connection with constituents. More specifically, individuals who are more active on platforms like YouTube and Facebook and take advantage of doing video messages and blogs have seen improvements in voter engagement. 

 

7. Share Your Vision. Let Followers See Behind the Scenes

Social media is best used to educate and inform your constituents and other stakeholders. Your followers are not looking for white papers or press releases. They want to know who you are and what you stand for. By opening up and lifting the curtain behind your work - through posting photos and giving special recognition to followers - your constituents will feel more directly connected to you and your work. 

 

8. Remember that Your Audience is Always Watching 

Incorrect use of social media can be a problem that results in permanent damage. Tweeting when angry or posting a video when you’re upset can do more harm than good. Make sure you’re sticking to your social media strategy. Be judicious in making sure that your posts are upbeat and informative, and double-check your posts before they go live. 

 

9. Keep Learning

Social media changes quickly. What’s “in” this week could be “out” next week. New platforms are often popping up, and the newer platforms are constantly evolving. One way to stay current is to follow social media leaders. You can find many of them on Twitter, or by searching for social media best practices and seeing the names that are popping up. Also, be diligent in monitoring a list of other people or campaigns that are doing social media well. When they change course, that'll cue you to reexamine your own approach.

 

10. Link Platforms 

Social media linking can boost engagement, expand your reach, improve search engine optimizations, and enhance your campaign’s marketing efforts. Make sure your constituents can link across your multiple social media platforms - from your Facebook to your Linkedin to your Twitter, and vice versa. 

 

Reflections

  • Examine your social media strategy through the lens of the best practices and make changes as necessary. 
  • Make a list of the top social media leaders to follow, so that you can make changes to your social media strategy as trends evolve. 

Explore how to set yourself up for success as an elected leader.

 

Related Resources

 

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